I'm Dolly — a Nashville based family & branding photographer AND a systems + workflow educator (and Podcast Host) for creatives who want to be more streamlined and organized with Systems, Workflows & SOPS to better impact the backend of their businesses. I'm here to help you look awesome (for your photos) & feel great about workflows!
We all know that summits are a great way to reach audiences and find new customers, but how do you get the most out of your summit experience? Today I am joined by Krista Miller, owner of Summit in a Box. She shares her three trends for 2023 that can help make your summit a success!
At Summit in a Box®, Krista helps you replace slow-growth and costly marketing strategies with a high-converting virtual summit that will multiply your revenue and lead to your biggest course, membership, or group program launch yet.
Her method incorporates highly-targeted positioning and feel-good, engagement-based strategies that lead to higher-than-average conversion rates, true connections, and making a difference through your summit in a way that creates ongoing benefits for months after the event wraps up.
➡️ Take Krista’s summit challenge here: Start Your Summit that Sells
Follow Krista on Instagram
Dolly DeLong: Hey, and welcome back to the Systems and Workflow Magic Podcast. I am your systems and workflow BFF and guide Dolly DeLong. And I am just so thrilled and honored you are joining in today. So I have a returning guest who has been on the podcast before, and it’s one of my favorite online business owners to learn from. It’s Krista Miller of Summit in a Box.
And Krista, I just want to welcome you back to the Systems and Workflow Magic podcast. Thank you for coming again. And I’m really excited to dive more into the topic of summits. Since that is your area of expertise. And before you, before we dive in, do you mind introducing yourself to the listeners just in case they haven’t met you from previous episodes?
And who are you and who do you serve? What do you do? Like share, share all the goods with us.
Krista Miller: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me back, Dolly. Literally always a joy and a pleasure. And I’m like excited thinking about the types of people that are going to listen to this because if they have half the heart that you do, like you just got, you just have the most wonderful people.
So I’m so happy to be here. Hi everybody. Like Dolly said, I’m Krista. If we have not met, I run a company called Summit in a Box. So we really teach all things summits. And my goal… Is to make the summit hosting process as simple as possible because it is I will say the most powerful business strategy I have ever used, but it’s also one of the most intensive.
You do work to get the results, and I honestly don’t believe anyone should ever host a summit from scratch because of the amount of work that it is. We serve two sets of people. We have our, we have a program that’s specifically for people who are a little earlier in business. So either you’re just starting out or you’re not going the digital product route.
And that is a product that gives you the strategies, the processes, the templates, literally everything you need to run a summit. So you are not doing it from scratch and you’re not wondering if it’s going to work. Because that’s the last thing I want from anyone hosting a summit. I want you to get results, and I want to save you literally hundreds of hours.
And then we also have a program called Launch with a Summit Accelerator that’s specifically for people with proven courses, memberships, group programs, and scalable offers. And we teach you how to launch with a summit. So use a summit to get all of the incredible benefits of hosting a summit, plus have your biggest launch ever on the back end.
And that, we focus on that aspect with the more experienced, I’ll say business owners there, but yeah, my goal is to make it easy and doable for everybody.
Dolly DeLong: And I just want to say on behalf of Krista, I can attest to her Summit in a Box program. I purchased it for myself earlier this year.
And for those of you who are listening, you may have been a part of the systems and workflow magic summit, the email marketing edition earlier in 2023. But I’m laughing because it is very intense. You all, it is so intense, but Krista lays it out. Like literally gives you all the puzzle pieces, which if you all know me, you all know, I love a good roadmap in a good system.
And so she laid it all out, but I had just I had just had Jack. Like literally just had Jack and so I am looking back now. I like it was an intense time hormonally for me. While I was putting together the summit. And I was like, man, this is, I feel a lot of intensity in me.
So I think I’m going to retry it again, like in my strat in my marketing strategy for sure next year.
But hopefully, I think now that I have the roadmap down, thanks to you, it’s going to go great. So I was just saying all that to share you with your listeners, like even if you are pregnant. Or just gave birth. You can do it. You can follow the roadmap. It’ll be intense, but you can do it.
Krista Miller: Oh my gosh, I’m like dying remembering that like you sending speaker videos with the teeniest, tiniest, little baby on your chest. You’re in it. I also hosted my first summit with a newborn. It does add another layer. So I think you will enjoy the process much more, not being super pregnant and with a newborn. I’ll just throw that out there.
Dolly DeLong: Yes, I’m like, I need to do this again because it was just very, it was intense with a newborn.
Krista Miller: Yes.
Dolly DeLong: All right so now that they, thank you for answering all those questions of what a summit is introducing yourself again. I know that with my audience, I love talking about systems and strategies, especially like to insert them into their marketing efforts.
And I want to know what is working with online summits right now. Because I know they’re constantly ebbing and flowing and I feel like they’re popping up everywhere or they’re just gaining more momentum. Everyone’s doing a summit. And which is cool, which is a test to like the power of summits. But I know that a lot of these summits are probably doing older methods that are not converting well. And so people are getting burned out, either assuming summits don’t work anymore or this strategy, the system doesn’t work anymore. So I really want you to I can’t even think of the phrase I’m looking for. I want, I know that you you can, know what’s working currently and you can attest to more current trends.
Krista Miller: Yeah. Yeah. You’re totally right with that. There are so many summits going on and a lot of people use that as a reason that they shouldn’t host it. And I’m like, wait a minute, you want to not use something because it’s clearly working for so many people. Let’s talk about this. Not more people using webinars and sending emails and using social media and things like that.
But you’re right in that. I think there’s also an increase in summits that aren’t working because of them using outdated strategies or just not really knowing just winging it and not really knowing what they’re doing. And a trend I’m seeing right now, specifically related to a system around creating and planning a summit, something that’s working right now is getting really unique and specific with your messaging.
Now, if you’re someone with a B2C audience hats off to you. I feel like you’re the lucky ones right now because we are still seeing B2C summits just absolutely sore. And I think it’s because there’s not as much noise in the space. There are not as many summits you are B2C business owners tend to help people with more specific things rather than those of us in the B2B space.
They’re like, let’s grow your business. In a few different ways, so a lot of B2C people have this a little easier. If you are B2B the unique and specific messaging is really important right now. Positioning that might’ve worked a year or two ago, we’ll see lower conversion rates these days, lower signups, and lower sales.
And not to say that it’s not worth it or not going to work. It’s just I want to see your signup work as well as it can. So get as specific as you can with your audience, so exactly what group of people you’re hosting your summit for a lot of times, We probably talked about this in our last episode, but a lot of times it’s going to be a narrower audience than what you’re used to targeting for your business.
And that’s okay. And then you need to get a really specific message around your summit. So what’s the purpose of it? What is it going to help them with? What’s the transformation that is going to come out of the other side of your summit you need to get really intentional about those things.
Dolly DeLong: Can you give a tangible example of what really bad messaging looks like from your experience?
Krista Miller: Absolutely. One of my go-to examples is a virtual summit to help online business owners grow their businesses. It’s not gonna cut it. It’s not gonna cut it. And on the flip side, I could say a good one would be and I’m gonna stick with B2B.
A summit to help wedding planners book out their client schedules on Instagram. So much more specific.
Dolly DeLong: So specific. Yeah. Okay. I like that a lot. I am always curious because I feel like another thing I see online a lot is just very broad summits. Oh man, of course, I can’t think of the example right now, but some of the taglines I’m like what does that even mean? Like seriously, or, it sounds very, again, I am not a woo woo person whatsoever, but sometimes and there is sometimes woo is good, but, sometimes it’s so woo that I have no idea what is that.
Krista Miller: We see that a lot. We have a couple of clients right now that we have had to work on that a lot ’cause they’ll send us the first version of their tagline and we’re like, Huh? Yeah. Is that even English? So that’s also the power of having an outside set of eyes to help you with these kinds of things. So you can be like, let’s make this actually make sense to people who aren’t you. So that is definitely even if you’re not in like a spiritual realm, run it by people who don’t do what you do and make sure that they feel like it’s specific and tangible and makes sense.
Dolly DeLong: That’s actually really like a good note. So for those of you who are listening, Krista just dropped like an incredible gem. Once you get down to your theme or you’re, I don’t know, like who you want to serve, run it by someone who is outside of your, I don’t want to say of your type of business or industry, because make sure that it makes sense to them before you like to forge ahead and start planning away.
Krista Miller: Yeah, absolutely.
Dolly DeLong: Okay. Awesome. Okay, what about a second trend that you’re seeing right now?
Krista Miller: Yeah, something else I’m seeing, and I think this is also as a result of a rise in summits, is people having a harder time with landing speakers. And I want to say up front, that being able to land speakers is not dependent on your audience size.
How big of a deal you are.
Your email list.
Like you’re fine wherever you’re at. If you have a business that is effectively talking to people you are fine where you’re at. But I feel like we can’t be a, be lazy like we used to be able to do when it comes to pitching. So my pitching systems have changed a little bit lately.
And it’s something I’ve been working with our clients to test and tweak and things like that. But something I have been changing with my last couple of events is instead of just relying on email, take it to other places. Also, people are getting so many emails for different event invitations, but also just emails in general.
So I will send my initial pitch and I’ll also send a voice message on Instagram. And where you do it, it’s just dependent on you as a person and where your speakers are hanging out, but send some kind of. personal connection. And Dolly, you are so good at this. You always are so quick to send videos or voice messages or different things.
And there’s just another layer of connection with that. It just adds so much. It makes people want to say yes. It makes it so maybe they wouldn’t have answered your email, but they just heard your voice and they can’t help but respond back. Oh, sure. Let me jump to my inbox and check out what you sent.
It just gives you a better likelihood that they’ll give you the time of day if you don’t already know them. If people like it does make it a little bit easier, but you don’t want to just rely on pitching your friends for summits, you want to bring in the people that are going to be great for your attendees, but also bring results to your event.
I’m also finding that. Again, this one is a little more specific for anyone who is B to C. If you find that you’re going to be pitching people who might not know what a summit is, you might want to scale your pitch back a little bit. So I have always really gone with it, I want to give everyone as much information as I can in this first email.
So they don’t have to ask for more information. We don’t need to get on a call. They have everything they need in this email. To make an informed decision that’s right for them. I think for those of you who are B2B or you’re running someone’s where they get it, they’ve done it before, been there, done that.
They want the information. Cool. Keep it that way. If they don’t know that I’m seeing people get a little more overwhelmed or be less likely to respond. So you might want to scale back your pitch a little bit to give them the information they need and literally just ask. Would you like more information that gives you a higher likelihood of getting a response from them?
And once you have that first response, it’s just so much easier to keep the responses going. You’re not wondering, am I in spam? Do they hate me? Are they on vacation? What’s going on? So definitely. Scale back the pitches a little bit if you’re pitching people who are newer and then also in follow-up.
I usually don’t follow up more than once, twice max, because if someone’s gonna be a pain to get a hold of right away, they’re probably gonna be a pain through the whole process and you just don’t want to be hunting down more speakers than you have to. But when I follow up I use MailTrack. So I can see if they open are they opening this?
Did they miss it? What’s going on? That just gives me a better gauge of how to continue following up. And again, I go back to social media as well. Hey, just wanted to make sure my email didn’t end up in spam. I sent you an email about, this. Would love to hear if you’re interested. No hurry to check it out.
But just want to make sure you see it. Really I think it’s really a matter of humanizing the pitch process a little bit more than we used to be able to because of their eyes.
Dolly DeLong: What would be a really sweet number of pitches to make to get to their realistic number?
So like casting a net to, let’s say, I don’t know, 50 people would normally funnel down to how many speakers in your experience?
Krista Miller: Okay. This is a really good question. It’s also one of those where I can’t give the best answer, but I’m going to try. I’m going to try really hard. So again, if you’re pitching people who have never heard of summits before, they don’t, they can’t automatically think of a summit and think of the benefits that go along with participating.
You’ll, you’re likely to have a bit of a lower response rate. So for you, I might want to have double the amount of speakers I want ready to pitch. I don’t necessarily pitch them all at once because you don’t want to end up with double. If you pitch them and they all say yes, but if you wanted, say, 20, I’d have 40 ready to go.
And if you’re not getting a response after, a good response after the first 10 or so pause and re-evaluate. Don’t just keep flinging pitches out there. Also, I’ll add the disclaimer, I’m assuming that they’re well-crafted pitches, a well-crafted event, blah, blah, blah.
For me, when I pitch, I expect to get maybe two or three no’s. So I’m not going to send many more pitches than what I want because I’m pitching people who understand summits. I don’t want to say I always have a relationship with the people I’m pitching. But since I’m a little more established people tend to feel safer saying yes, so the no’s I get are going to be I have my own launch going on or I’m already in something at that time frame you know if you’re in that realm or also, just if your positioning is super solid and something people want to be a part of, you can see that as well.
Even in my first couple of summits when I was no one, I was getting really high response rates like that. So it’s going to depend a bit on your audience. You’ll get a good gauge with your first set of pitches. But I don’t want a low response to make someone decide it’s not going to work, people don’t like me, and I’m not a big enough deal.
Revisit your pitch what you’re saying and how your summit is positioned because you can make it really exciting for your speakers. So if you’re someone who just wants to play it safe and be super prepared, no matter what, have a list of double. The worst that happens is you still have half that list to go and pitch in your next summit.
Dolly DeLong: How much do you, how much time do you recommend a person plan to pitch? Does that make sense? Like how much, let’s say their summit is four months from now, or they want to do a summit five months from now, when should they start pitching?
Krista Miller: So honestly, whenever you’re ready, it’s okay to start pitching.
I have usually done about two months out. I’ve been hearing a couple of clients say recently that, their speaker said they need four months’ notice or something like that. Again, it’s going to be industry-specific. But it’s if you are ready earlier, it’s not going to hurt to reach out to people early.
It’s not like they’re gonna be like, Oh, darn, like totally forgot about that. Can’t do it anymore. Like you’ll be keeping them up to date and things like that. Whenever you are ready, you can go for it. I like to give myself about three weeks in my process to do all the pitching. You can do other things for your summit during that time, but I like to get my first round of pitches out to see how they perform, see how it’s received.
And then the great part of doing that is when you get those yeses back, you can use people’s names in the next round of pitches and say, by the way, we have so and people. Person X, Y, and Z lined up, we’d love to feature you alongside them. And I usually do that in about three rounds and give people about a week to get back to me before deciding, okay, I got to fill that topic with someone else.
Dolly DeLong: Gotcha. That, that, this is, these are all really good points, Krista. I love them. And then, okay, I’m going to backtrack just a little bit. I know the differences, but just verbally so that my listeners can hear what I know you said B2C and then B2B. Can you give tangible examples of what both mean?
Krista Miller: Yes. Thank you for that, I should have done that. So B2B stands for business to business. So you’re a business owner marketing to other business owners. So I market to people who offer services who offer courses, things like that. If you are targeting brick-and-mortar businesses, really anyone running a business is your B2B.
B2C means business to consumer. So you are marketing to someone who is not running a business. You’re marketing to a person who is. Buying things from a consumer standpoint. Some examples I’m thinking of from our clients are like, we have a lot of clients that target different types of crafters. So like people who make cards, people who crochet, people who knit moms, if you target moms you’re B2C.
If you’re not targeting a business owner, basically that’s you.
Dolly DeLong: Gotcha. No, thank you so much for breaking that down. Okay. So we covered a lot. Oh, and then I wanted to also pull go even further with the pitching like you said, like you’re humanizing the pitch. And just as a reminder to listeners, like the reason why we’re bringing this up is like, why Christa is bringing this up is because I don’t know. It’s really hard to trust people in the online space right now. You don’t know who’s being genuine. You don’t know who is just copy-pasting a template and going. And so I would highly recommend, I do this for all my pitches. I sent out a Loom video. That’s L-O-O-M. That’s the app I use.
And it’s I know it’s free for up to five minutes of recording and you can’t that way people can see your face and see your facial expression. And I have a background, I know not a lot of people know this. I have a background in psychology and counseling which was my other life. And so I know body language, reading people’s body language is really important to me.
And so I always send them videos of me just talking so they know because what if your sentence comes across a certain way when a person is reading it in their head? And so I know that sounds so nitpicky, but just something that I’ve learned is if you send over a loom video along with the email, it’s actually received so much better.
And yes, I’ve gotten rejection still, but they’ve been nicer about it after seeing my face. So I just want to encourage listeners to like, get outside of their comfort zone, and record a video of themselves pitching to someone. And if you need to send these pitches to your friends so that they’ll have they can tell you what their, your body language looks like.
So just practice.
Krista Miller: I love that. And honestly, that’s the reason I said yes to the first thing you pitched me for, or maybe the first one was a no because I was busy, but I wanted you to pitch me for the next thing. It’s I didn’t know you at that time, but I watched the video. I was like, Oh my gosh, I love her.
Obviously, I want to be a part of this. So it definitely makes a difference to do that if you can.
Dolly DeLong: I was very nervous. I will tell you that.
Krista Miller: No need.
Dolly DeLong: All right. So I know you have a third point, to share with the listeners.
Krista Miller: Yeah. Yeah. So the first, or the third system we have that’s working really right now with summits is launching through them.
And this is specifically launching an offer that you know works. I don’t want you to go throw together an offer you’ve never sold before and try to throw it on the back end of a summit. And really the reason for that is how overwhelming it would be to, launch a new product in and of itself is overwhelming, right?
Now you also plan a summit along with that, like no one does that in their life, okay? So there’s that side of it, but also I want to make sure when you go through the work of hosting a summit, you end up with thousands of people, thousands of leads on your email list that what you offer them works.
And I want you to have data that proves that, so you can just go in confidently. And then if something works really well, or not as well, you can compare that to other things and really find more easily where the issues are. But we are seeing this work really right now for people, if you have a membership, oh man, please launch with the summit, because memberships are just absolutely wild with summons right now.
Proven courses and we’re even seeing if you have a high ticket program that converts very highly in your funnel, those also. Work well with summits. I think part of that is because it’s a newer strategy. It’s something we just started teaching people Let’s see, in April 2022, it was. So as far as online business goes, it’s a new strategy, and I think that’s part of why it’s working well, is people aren’t they don’t have their guards up about it yet.
So yeah. So basically, this is still hosting an incredible summit in and of itself. You still want thousands of people registered. You still want to make tens of thousands in all access pass sales, but you’re also tying in your offer. In a way that feels good. So you’re not turning your event into a pitch fest.
You’re also not like pulling a bait-and-switch type situation at the end where people are like, Whoa, I thought this was free. What is this thing? Never heard of this before. You’re building awareness of your offer all throughout the summit. If you have a membership, you can even enroll people right throughout the summit.
And then really flowing from summit to launch really seamlessly in a way that feels good. And we’ve just been seeing really great results with that also.
Dolly DeLong: That is awesome. So I will share I’m very intense in my personality. I have a very intense, systems personality. So what I did with Summit in a Box is so that people can know, like behind the scenes of the Dolly brain.
So one of my friends calls me the Dolly Brain. I’m like, you are so funny.
Anyway, I had a pre-launch leading up to the summit, which was in June. So from March on, I did pre-launch and warmed up my audience all about. Email marketing. And then the summit was in June. It was about email marketing.
And then post-summit was like another ramp up to my it’s called the bundle intensive program where me and another business owner, like we are co-leading a group program on teaching about bundles, like how to lead a strategic bundle. And it was a very, it’s been, like, I feel like I’ve just been on a launching runway since March, but it’s been so much fun to do and see all these puzzle pieces put together.
And but I’m, like, giving, again, giving you a shout your Summit in a Box made it really easy for me to map out my launch, and then I could easily map out that next launch. So it’s two runways on top of each other if that makes sense.
Krista Miller: I can imagine. I can imagine.
All with a baby in the mix, too. Come on.
Dolly DeLong: Why did I do this to myself? But I’ve been having so much fun learning and like taking notes, and I know I’m going to iterate it differently next year, but it’s been a really fun experience. And I really can attest again, with what you said, like adding a summit in your marketing plan in my marketing plan has been so a game changer for me, like with the bundle and it’s been fun.
Krista Miller: Yeah. Yeah. Those two are, they’re a great pair. I love it.
Dolly DeLong: Yeah. So Krista. Okay. Thank do you have anything else to say about what’s working in summits or do you want to wrap up with any other points to add to launching a summit?
Krista Miller: I think we’ve probably given people a lot to think about as well.
We have a challenge coming up that I think is going to be the perfect step for anyone who’s hearing this and okay, I want to go into a summit with systems that are working now. I want to do this the right way. Like, how do I get started?
Dolly DeLong: Yes. Can you share more about the challenge?
Because when this episode airs, I know that the challenge is going to be starting. September 11th. Correct.
Krista Miller: Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So we are running our Start Your Summit that sells challenge. We have run this challenge six times before and it has created summits that are just beyond my wildest imagination.
There are people who have gone through this challenge and have hosted 10 summits or more. There are people who have hosted summits bringing in multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s a solid challenge is what I’m saying. The goal of this challenge is it’s the name to start your summit that is going to sell.
And by sell, I mean get people registered, get people buying your all-access pass. If you have an offer, get people buying that as well.
So in this challenge, we really focus on those first few steps that are the core foundation of being able to move forward with a summit that does convert. So we focus on, we do focus on a little bit of mindset and goal setting.
I’ll be real with you, it’s not my favorite. So we go through that pretty fast, but I want you to have a goal in mind for what you’re working towards. From there, we work on your positioning. So we talk about how to choose your summit audience. You get my feedback live on that. We also talk about choosing your summit topic.
You also get my feedback on that. There is nowhere else I do that outside of our group coaching program. So this is a really great place, to get some feedback on what you’re thinking for your positioning. From there, we set a date for your summit, whether it’s three months from now, or, a year from now, I want that date on the calendar.
Otherwise, it’s not going to happen. And we talk about making a plan, like working backward to make a plan. So that actually happens from there. So it’s really a challenge designed to get you started with your summit regardless of what’s going to happen and get you off to a really solid start. So you feel good about picking up with the rest of the process.
Dolly DeLong: I love that so much. And just to let the listeners know, I have a link for this challenge in the show notes. And so I say jump, jump in on it because like just learning from Krista will really benefit you in so many ways. Like seriously, I’ve been learning so much from you, Krista, in the last two or three years.
I don’t even know how long I’m going to say three years. So I can attest. Krista knows her stuff. So join the challenge.
Krista Miller: Thank you. I appreciate it. It’s a fun time. We got prizes too. So if you need a little more bribery, we have prizes. Come join us.
Dolly DeLong: I love bribery. So yeah, you should definitely join.
All right. So Krista for those who are listening or just now meeting you, where can they find you? What are your favorite platforms to live on and connect with people?
Krista Miller: Yeah. So my favorite place to hang out is Instagram at Summit in a Box. If you’re not an Instagram user, we have a Facebook group called Summit Host Hangout.
There are about 5, 000 summit hosts in there and I would love for you to come join us. I’m in there every day, just seeing what people are up to. And then our website is summitinabox.com.
Dolly DeLong: Awesome. And everybody, the links and resources mentioned in this episode including the challenge are going to be in the show notes.
So be sure to check out the show notes and until next week I hope you have an incredible and amazing streamlined week, you amazing muggle I will talk to you all later. Bye.
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